Things to do
Students love the town of Prescott which is famous as home to the World's Oldest Rodeo, and Arizona's Christmas City. Many other flavors of entertainment spice up the proceedings year-round. Social activities abound, both on campus and throughout the Prescott area, and flyers on billboards keep you up to date. From Fourth Friday Art Walks, to great live music (including open mikes) at local coffeehouses and watering holes, to Tsunami on the Square , to Prescott's performing arts festival, there's more than enough to do on any given weekend.
Entertainment and Shopping
The Yavapai College Performing Arts Center schedules a wonderful variety of high-caliber musical and theater acts, including the Prescott Symphony and Prescott Jazz Foundation sponsored events. Tim's Toyota Center in Prescott Valley houses the Arizona Sundogs hockey team during the winter and hosts home and auto shows, large rock concerts, and conventions (as well as public ice-skating). National-level acts and events also come to Flagstaff and Phoenix, both about two hours away. Catch the latest cinematic releases at the Harkins Theatre Prescott Valley 14 and older movies at the The Raven Cafe on Monday nights.
Shopping ranges from funky antique and secondhand stores to the Tibet Gallery to a choice of big box emporiums to a wide range of boutiques and specialty shops. Prescott Gateway Mall , within minutes of campus, features national chain stores and restaurants including anchor stores Dillards, JC Penney and Sears. For food shopping, downtown Prescott hosts three large chain groceries plus a smaller chain store with great organic and local produce. And there's a "herbothecary" a couple of blocks from the College. The whole community can purchase memberships in Prescott College's CSA (community supported agriculture co-op), and Prescott Farmer's Market operates late spring through early fall Saturday mornings at nearby Yavapai College.
Historic Whiskey Row, where Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp gambled and lived large before heading to Tombstone, now hosts the likes of favorite student haunts Coyote Joe's Bar & Grill and Jersey Lilly's, along with shops, galleries and restaurants.
The Prescott YMCA has fitness facilities, a challenging climbing wall and an Olympic-sized pool, and it offers classes throughout the year. Trails of all kinds crisscross the plentiful forests and open space. Students hike, camp, and rock climb on nearby Granite Mountain, Thumb Butte and in the Granite Dells. Kayaking local Lynx, Watson and Goldwater Lakes, as well as horseback riding, make for fun activities.
Dedicated to nature conservancy and the preservation of animals, the Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary provides homes to all sorts of creatures from rare scorpions to Mexican wolves – most of them incapacitated or rescued from the wild or from inappropriate captive situations. Highlands Center for Natural History provides outdoor science education to visitors of all ages.
Nearby hiking trails and outdoor recreation opportunities:
Drive north on Grove Avenue to Iron Springs Road. Take a left onto Iron Spring Road and drive west approximately 2 ½ miles until you arrive at the Granite Basin turn off. Take a right here, onto Granite Basin Road, and continue driving to the Playa or Metate Trailhead parking lot. Here you can access a variety of trails from easy to difficult terrain. Fee upon entry.
Drive south on Grove Avenue to Gurley Street. Take a left onto Gurley Street heading east through downtown. Continue on Gurley Street until you see the junction of Hwy 89N and Hwy 69. Go left onto 89N and continue driving until you reach the traffic circle. Go right into Watson Lake Recreational Area. Fee upon entry.
Drive south on Grove Avenue to Gurley Street. Take a right heading west onto Gurley and continue on Gurley Street as it bends southwest and turns into Thumb Butte Road. Follow Thumb Butte Road approximately 1 mile and enter right into the parking lot for the recreation area. Trails are located across the street from the parking lot with fee upon entry.
Drive south on Grove Avenue to Gurley Street. Turn left (east) onto Gurley Street and continue on Gurley as it turns into Hwy 69. Follow Hwy 69 to Walker Road (just past the mall) and turn right (south). Follow Walker Road approximately 3 miles to the North Shore parking area; turn left into the entrance drive; fee upon entry.
Drive south on Grove Avenue to Gurley Street. Turn left (east) onto Gurley Street and continue to Mt. Vernon Street (Senator Hwy); turn right. Continue on road about 4 miles. Turn right onto road with sign that says Goldwater Lake. Parking/day fee. Facilities: boat ramp, fishing, ramada, barbecue grills, playground, fishing pier, horseshoe pits, volleyball court, picnic tables, restrooms.
Climbing / Bouldering
For detailed climbing information, check out A Climber’s Guide to Prescott, AZ.
Groom Creek Bouldering
Groom is a bouldering destination and a place not to be missed. Groom Creek is off of Senator Hwy. (Mt. Vernon Rd., see Goldwater Lake, above). About a mile past the hamlet of Groom Creek is a parking area (on the left) and in the area is a collection of spectacular granite boulders where you can get lost for days or spend far too many hours falling, chalking, and going again.
Home to some of Prescott’s finest crack climbing and is perfect for a quick afternoon session to get your climbing fix or a whole day’s climbing. The Butte is closed during the late winter through early fall for peregrine nesting, so be careful when you decide to climb there! The most obvious access is at the top of the trail and then wraps around the butte from both sides. Mecca & Cherry Ball are some ultra classic climbs that are well worth the approach!
The Mountain is a climber’s paradise. The approach is long, but the climbing is more than worth it! This is the place to go for killer multi-pitch climbing on stellar granite. Everything can be found here from slab, splitter cracks, manky off-widths, and anything in-between! Once you see the area, it speaks for itself. It can be found out Iron Springs Rd. at the end of Granite Basin Rd.
The Granite Dells and Watson Lake Dells
The Granite-Diorite of the Dells is another great place to learn to climb in Prescott, is easily accessed, and serves as a gateway to some great lakes, birding, biking and adventure (see directions to Watson Lake, above). The Dells are fairly obvious and littered with a great climbs, diverse in their difficulty and style (Trad and Sport).
Arizona and Southwest Region
When they have a break in their schedule, students at Prescott College want to explore Arizona and the culture of the Southwest. Road trips – always popular for filling a break in classes – are a great way to explore this astonishing countryside. From nearby ghost-town-turned-art-colony Jerome to the The Grand Canyon to the Sonoran Desert and the borderlands and beaches of Mexico, plus little-known gems like Montezuma's Well , the region never fails to delight.
The mountainside mining-and-tourist town of Jerome is just 35 miles from campus. Down the hill and over a bumpy dirt road is the Sycamore Canyon swimming hole and natural springs – well worth the drive and hike. The new-age art mecca of Sedona is just a few twists further down the road. Flagstaff, 75 miles from Prescott, is a wonderful historic downtown and venues for touring musical acts.
Arizona’s National Forests provide recreational and wilderness opportunities. The Apache-Sitgreaves, Coconino, Coronado, Kaibab, Prescott and Tonto National Forests provide innumerable recreational opportunities and are close enough for quick weekend getaways. Mind-boggling sites like the Grand Canyon, Montezuma's Castle , (one of the best preserved cliff dwellings of ancient peoples), and Meteor Crater (the best preserved meteor crater on earth) are close enough to explore on a regular basis. Big rapids are found on the Colorado River, just a day’s drive north.
At times students thirst for the city life and escape to the metropolises of Phoenix and Tucson where they can see world-traveling science and art exhibitions and take in huge stadium shows.
Students with passports can escape to Rocky Point, Mexico, to enjoy the closest beach resort to Arizona. It is just a day’s drive from Prescott.